step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

taichi kuma announces opening of ‘sazae’ sauna in naoshima

 

Kengo Kuma & Associates has recently announced the completion of ‘SAZAE,’ an eye-catching and wood-clad sauna at the SANA MANE glamping facility in Naoshima, Japan. Designed by Taichi Kuma and supervised by TTNE — a sauna specialty brand — the bathhouse emerges as a spiralling seashell structure boasting a pleated facade laid atop a concrete base. To enter the sauna, guests are met by a cave-like entrance, evoking the aperture of a turban seashell. Punctuating the tip of the sauna is a light oculus that illuminates the interiors. ‘Designs that imitate living things are called biomimicry, and this time, I was inspired by the unevenness of seashells,’ notes Taichi Kuma.

 

The private sauna opened exclusively to hotel guests on September 29, 2022. A full accommodation booking is needed to enjoy the sauna experience, which offers bath towels, hats, detox water, and whisk rentals, among other things. 

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resortall images © Keishin Horikoshi / SS | courtesy of Kengo Kuma & Associates 

 

 

a cave-like room boasting ‘countless folds and undulations’ 

 

Taking to Instagram, lead architect Taichi Kuma further describes the interior design of the ‘SAZAE’ sauna as acave-like space cut off from the outside world by a thick wall […] The only light pouring in comes from the oculus. In order to feel the light, I created countless folds and undulations with laminated plywood.‘ By sculpting the surfaces with undulating motions, an immersive play of shadows takes over the room, helping guests relax further into the sauna experience at the SANA MANE glamping facility without succumbing to any distractions.

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resortthe ‘SAZAE’ sauna is open exclusively to hotel guests at SANA MANE

 

 

evoking a turban seashell with a pleated wooden texture

 

To get that final spiraling and pleated shape, the team at Kengo Kuma & Associates, alongside TTNE and structural engineers, have created a series of digital simulations. ‘Normally, a space with such a high ceiling would not be suitable for a sauna. This is achieved by performing forced ventilation with intake from the top and exhaust from the bottom. By controlling the model with 3D CAD and programming software, we were able to detail everything from shape to paneling and iterate heat simulations,’ writes the architect.

 

Once the final model was approved, the team proceeded to erect the ‘SAZAE’ sauna using about 5,000 pieces of CNC-cut plywood assembled on-site like a puzzle, resulting in the intricately pleated and textured volume that shape-shifts from different vantage points.

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

using about 5,000 pieces of plywood to build the structure

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

a cave-like room with an oculus illuminating it from atop

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

a play of light and shadow through intricate folds and undulations

step inside kengo kuma's seashell-inspired private sauna at a japanese glamping resort

evoking the shape of a turban seashell

 

 

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view of the ‘SAZAE’ sauna at evening time

ARCHITECTURE IN JAPAN (1266)

BIOMIMICRY (11)

KENGO KUMA (236)

SAUNAS (69)

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